16 Years On Anti-depressants And Now Trying To Do Without...

i have major depressive disorder, been on anti-depressants for 16 years, most notably effexor for the last 8. weaned myself off effexor. physically it was awful but i did it. now it has been about a month and a half and depression has slowly crept right back in. or i think that's what it is. i am confused if this is depression or me just not knowing how to deal without any medication. i am not suicidal. if i have bad thoughts i am logical enough to know they are just stupid thoughts. but the anxiety is so bad. racing thoughts, many what if scenarios running in my head and fear and doubt. i cry a lot or on the verge of. but i feel myself struggling to fight it and i want to fight it, but i just don't know how much i can do. trying 5-htp, omega-3, vitamin d, b complex and exercising about 3x a week. what has it been like for anyone who has come off them for as long as i have been on them? is this just my brain re-adjusting? or do i just need to accept i will always be depressed without medication and go back on it? i have people in my life to support me through this but no one who has been through it. please share if you have.
plinko333 plinko333
3 Responses Dec 15, 2011

i really appreciate both of your responses. it makes me feel better to know others have gone through this and I just need to keep trying. i am not opposed to going back on them but as a last resort. i suppose only time will tell.

I too battle with depression. I have been on and off antidepressants for 10 years. I thought that I could go off my meds and be okay granted at the time I was in group, individual, and marriage counseling. I was also involved in a church and had a strong support network. Even with all of the "protective factors", as they are called, I found it challenging to deal with my low moods off the meds. I went back on them after a 2 month trial. I tried vitamins and natural supplements yet found the best thing for me was my antidepressants. I know it is a somber thought knowing that you may need to take meds for the rest of your life but the thing that gets me over that hump is the thought that it helps me function in life. To be able to function and live a somewhat happy, successful life is worth its weight in gold. I understand your struggles and commend you for empowering yourself to try new things. Good luck in whatever you choose to do. Just one suggestion though, therapy is always a good adjunct to medication management. Maybe try that if you have not already.

I elected to take myself off of anti-depressants about three years ago. Granted I was not on them for more than a fraction of what you were (probably only three years), I had some difficulty adjusting to life without them. Unlike you, I did/do get the suicidal tendencies. You can do it if you believe that you can. It seems like you are doing the right thing, what with the exercising and vitamins and such. My family still fights me on the decision. They say that they can tell the difference, that I am more angry and/or pessimistic. This is true, yes. I have things to be angry and pessimistic about. But it is not a 24/7 thing. There are plenty of good times if I want them. As long as you have the support of the people around you that should help, should keep you grounded. It's all a big mind over matter thing. I do not want to be on anti-depressants (because they make me feel like I am on auto-pilot and I'd rather feel real emotions than nothing at all) so I am not on them. It does not mean that feelings associated with depression don't come up. Instead it means that I must be more proactive in not letting them overwhelm me. What I find most helpful is talking with a professional counselor. Talking out my worries and qualms is that much needed sigh of relief, otherwise sometimes it all gets pent up. When I first quit my anti-depressants I felt great the first few weeks, and I felt good that I could function without them. Then those old feelings came crashing back. What had happened was that it took the anti-depressants a few weeks to work their way entirely out of my system (same with you). You are just at the beginning and it will not be easy but it is possible. Just keep your head up and believe that you can live without the anti-depressants if you so choose. Again, it is a lot of work. I still have to focus quite hard sometimes to put my mind at ease. But you can do it. I believe in you, if it helps :)<br />
Sounds like one of your main issues is anxiety (which I am sorry I do not have much first hand experience with). Have you considered using an anxiety medication in place of an anti-depressant? Or is it that you just want to stop any medication all together? Whatever your final decision may be, keep your support group strong, do not be afraid to talk out your feelings with someone, and keep your faith in yourself. Anyone can tell you that you can't (and many will tell you that you can), but none of their opinions matter really. What matters is that you tell yourself that you can, and on some level, no matter how minute, you believe that it is true.